Business and Economy

An airport passenger drop-off terminal with no people and minimal cars.
Brian Bahouth / The Sierra Nevada Ally

Since the first of March, airline passenger volume in the United States has dropped by more than 80 percent. People are still allowed to fly, and freight terminals are busy, but the passenger numbers at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport are down to a trickle and the airport reaches deep into the regional economy.

A distillery employee at work.
David Calvert / The Nevada Independent

Lee en español.

Tom Adams, the owner of Seven Troughs Distillery in Sparks, is creating high proof alcohol for hand sanitizer.

An image of a hospital tower run by Intermountain Healthcare.
Andy D. / Flickr Creative Commons

As hospitals continue to fill up with COVID-19 patients, one major health care provider in the Mountain West announced it’s cutting pay for some of its medical staff.

A wooden sign in a window that says, "Sorry, we're closed."
Marco Derksen / Flickr Creative Commons

Nevada is seeing a surge in new unemployment claims because of business closures. Several locals said they are finding it hard to file for unemployment with the uptick in filing.

An image showing the entrance of the Nevada Southern Detention Center.
Google Maps

Support for our series Private Prison: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

Kazmierski said, "Our community works well together and I'm confident that we will get through this in [the] not too distant future. In 90 days, we'll start to see a fairly reasonable recovery."
Paul Boger / KUNR

For roughly a decade, Nevada has maintained one of the fastest-growing economies in the country. But with non-essential businesses across the state shuttered due to the threat of the novel coronavirus, that economy is likely going to take a hit. Just how big of an impact COVID-19 will have remains to be seen. To suss that out, KUNR’s Paul Boger spoke with Mike Kazmierski, CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada about the state’s economy and what recovery may look like.

An image of the inside of the Westgate Resorts Superbook.
Westgate Resorts

The COVID-19 pandemic is now threatening the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, following a number of high-profile sporting events that have already been postponed or canceled. These cancelations have some sportsbooks looking for different things to bet on.

Stevie Tavener said, "Finding different breathing patterns or different things we can do to stay present in the moment. Things are changing hourly, so we kind of just have to stay as present as possible and that's what I'm focusing on most."
Stephanie Serrano / KUNR

Many Nevadans working in the service industry, who have the opportunity to file for unemployment, are currently in the process of doing so after the mandated statewide closure of all non-essential businesses for 30 days. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano spoke to two Reno locals who have been impacted.

An empty cafe with two tables and a couple chairs.
Pangolin Cafe

As coronavirus social distancing continues to be encouraged in Nevada by local and state officials, a mandatory 30-day closure of non-essential businesses statewide has been issued by Governor Steve Sisolak.

Unprecedented changes and new public gathering restrictions have left small business owners questioning their future.

MidTown Reno Pubs, Employees Grapple With Closures

Mar 19, 2020
A bicycle rack in MidTown Reno shaped like a standing zig-zag.
Alexa Ard

Bars and restaurants are a central part of Reno’s Midtown District, which is now grappling with the 30-day, statewide shutdown of all non-essential businesses ordered by Governor Steve Sisolak.

High Demand For Dry Goods Is Taxing Supply Chains

Mar 16, 2020
The shelving along a supermarket aisle is completely empty of products.
Brian Bahouth / The Sierra Nevada Ally

On Thursday and Friday, Nevada stores saw a 20% surge in demand for dry goods. Panic buying is testing the nation’s system of freight transport, but according to a Nevada trucking industry spokesperson, the supply chain will soon catch up with demand.

An image of a basketball game with a large crowd.
University of Nevada, Reno

COVID-19 is halting sports events around the country. The National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer are all suspended. And March Madness is canceled.

That’s affecting one industry particularly hard: sports betting.

New Report Spotlights The Rural West’s Connectivity Gap 

A report published this week by the National Association of Counties found that more than 75% of rural counties had internet and cellular connections that fell well below minimum government standards. The problem is especially acute in the Mountain West. For the most part, only wealthy enclaves like Jackson, Wyoming, have good broadband, the study’s connectivity maps show.

It looks like President Trump’s partial trade deal with China won’t bring in the promised $40 billion or so worth of agricultural trade for the U.S. this year. 

An image of a man wiping down a large array of solar panels.
U.S. Department of Energy

Solar jobs are up across the U.S., after two consecutive years of declines. But that growth is mixed in our region.

According to the latest report from the nonprofit solar energy advocate, The Solar Foundation, more than 5,600 solar jobs were added last year.

An image showing a view of a lithium mine operation from space.
NASA

The nation’s largest known lithium deposit is here in the Mountain West. As demand for electric vehicles grows — and with it demand for lithium, used to make EV batteries — one company hopes to harvest the mineral from that deposit in Northern Nevada.

An up-close view of the coronavirus.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Thousands of cases of the coronavirus have been reported worldwide, with most occurring in China. However, the outbreak is sure to have big economic impacts in the U.S.

An image of a copper plant in Nevada.
Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology / Nevada Division of Minerals

When it comes to economic development, much of the attention goes to big cities, but some rural areas in Nevada are also attracting big names.

That was one of the main points at the annual Winnemucca Futures, a networking and learning event to talk about the economy and business.


April Poley is a broker and real estate agent in Gillette, Wyoming. Lately she's been getting a lot of her potential clients through a business called Conservative Move.

Tech startups have been migrating into cities all around the Mountain West, from Denver to Salt Lake to Boise.


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